FARMINGTON — Diné College in Shiprock emerged as San Juan County's biggest capital outlay winner Wednesday with $5 million for a new library.

"Our existing small library is in dire need of upgrades," Curtis Ray Benally, an interim college vice president, said. "Some of our older cultural books, cultural philosophies, they need to be in a good facility."

Gov. Bill Richardson signed the $341 million capital outlay bill Wednesday. He vetoed $7 million worth of projects approved by the Legislature, including $218,000 in San Juan County, citing "fiscal responsibility" in a press release.

The cuts all hit projects from the Senate, which didn't consider Richardson's health care package this year.

The remaining projects in San Juan County totaled $13.1 million. They ranged from bathroom additions at the Nageezi Chapter House to a new health science building at San Juan College.

The city of Farmington ended up with $1.1 million. Aztec got about $1 million, including $450,000 for an east arterial route to direct trucks around the city. Bloomfield received $525,000 for water and waste water improvements, a ballpark and playground equipment.

In Farmington, four of the city's top five capital improvement projects ended up getting money, but were not funded close to the requested levels.

The animal shelter, an approximately $4 million project in the design stage, got $314,000 and the $11 million Piñon Hills bridge extension landed $290,000.


The city also got $75,000 for an expansion at Echo Food Bank; Richardson sliced Civic Center improvements.

City Manager Mike Miller could not be reached for comment.

The funding process was much more equal this year than in years past, said Tom Taylor, R-Farmington and House minority leader.

"For many years, the doling out of capital outlay money was done on a seniority and leadership basis, and there was no parity whatsoever," he said. "This year we had pretty good parity across the board."

San Juan County's total allotment put it among the top five counties; it also is one of the top five counties by population.

Legislators ended with a smaller amount of money to dedicate to capital improvements projects this year compared to last year, owing to a smaller total tax take.

Richardson dedicated some of his share of the capital outlay money to the Diné College project.

"He picks a few statewide projects so they can do a big project out of that, instead of the piecemeal stuff," Sen. Steve Neville, R-Aztec, said.

Diné College will begin design work on the 30,000-square-foot library.

The library primarily will serve the 300-student Shiprock campus of Diné College, but it also will be open to the public. It is the latest phase of a project to move the campus from the old Shiprock Boarding School to a new facility to the south, where a new classroom building was completed in 2005.

Based in Tsaile, Ariz., the college has about 1,800 students and a $24 million operating budget of mainly federal money, President Ferlin Clark said.

The school has an agreement with the state of Arizona to fund about $1.7 million a year for building improvements, but no such agreement exists with New Mexico.

Clark said the library project will be one of several initiatives to get solid funding sources set for the school and improve its programs.

"We are very excited; it's going to be a very busy spring," he said.

How Farmington fared

1. Pinon Hills Extension

What they asked for: $6 million

What they got: $290,000

2. Regional animal shelter

What they asked for: $2.5 million

What they got: $314,000

3. Convention center/downtown infrastructure

What they asked for: $5 million

What they got: $0

4. Airport improvements

What they asked for: $4 million

What they got: $250,000

5. Two new fire stations

What they asked for: $2.5 million

What they got: $325,000